Anti-Defamation League CEO says “antizionism is antisemitism” despite large number of Jewish antizionists in U.S.

By Peter Beinart, The Beinart Notebook

I’m pretty sure that Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, won’t join one of our Friday Zoom calls. Which saddens me because I have so many questions (to be posed respectfully, I promise) about the speech he just gave equating Palestinian solidarity groups with white nationalists. Jonathan, if you’re out there, please come and explain!

Palestinians Strike call to Action in NYC.

Back to Jonathan Greenblatt’s speech, which I’ll do my best to interpret in his absence. Its starting point is that anti-Zionism equals antisemitism. The language Greenblatt uses to make the point is revealing. “To those who still cling to the idea that antizionism is not antisemitism,” he thunders, “let me clarify this for you as clearly as I can – antizionism is antisemitism. I will repeat: antizionism is antisemitism.”

This isn’t the language of someone making an argument. It’s the language of someone delivering a catechism. More specifically, it’s the language of someone outraged that his audience hasn’t gotten the theology through their thick skulls. Let me say it again, only louder!

It’s not hard to understand Greenblatt’s frustration. Last week, the American Jewish Committee published a survey, which found that 22 percent of American Jewish millennials support “One bi-national state with a single government elected.” Another 15 percent favor one state “in which Palestinians have a unique civil status and are represented by Palestinian municipal leaders,” which is an extremely euphemistic way of describing one state that permanently denies Palestinian basic rights. It’s so euphemistic that some of those 15 percent likely thought that option also refers to equality between Palestinians and Jews. Those numbers are roughly consistent with a Jewish Electoral Institute poll last year, which found that twenty percent of American Jews favor one equal state and twenty-eight percent think Israel is practicing apartheid.

So somewhere between one-fifth and one-third of American Jews support legal equality between Jews and Palestinians in one state, which by Greenblatt’s definition makes them anti-Zionists. Which makes them antisemites. What’s particularly scary about that figure, if you’re someone like Greenblatt, is that these American Jews arrived at this position even though it’s not held by a single prominent American politician other than Rashida Tlaib, and it’s deemed antisemitic under the definition favored by America’s most powerful Jewish organizations and by the US government itself. Nonetheless, with every passing year, as it becomes more and more obvious that a viable, sovereign Palestinian state isn’t possible, the percent of American Jews supporting equality in one state is likely to grow. No wonder Greenblatt is anxious.

Read More